Chilly weather means prep soccer

  • By
  • | 9:51 a.m. November 13, 2014
  • Sports
  • Share


The holiday season has arrived, and Florida winter is looming.

Many folks wouldn’t immediately associate these two things with the most popular sport in the world — unless, of course, you follow high-school soccer in the Sunshine State.

Varsity soccer season has begun for area boys and girls programs competing within the Florida High School Athletic Association and will run through Valentine’s Day in February, when the last boys soccer state championship is played in Melbourne.

Perhaps an odd scheduling decision to the unfamiliar, it doesn’t seem to phase Ocoee boys soccer coach Peter Moore. Moore, who grew up in the area and played for West Orange during the 1980s, said the winter schedule is just part of the deal for the beautiful game in this state.

“We always played in the winter; I never really thought about it,” Moore said Nov. 6, after his Knights had finished defeating Edgewater, 3-1, in an early-season matchup. “The kids don’t really complain; I think they like the break from the heat.”

In general, Florida winters are mild enough where the playing conditions are manageable — if not desirable. Still, Moore did recall a few instances over his many years of being around the game in the Sunshine State where the cold won the day.

“One year, we had icicles on the side of a tent I put up for the kids — they do complain then,” Moore said. “I’ve actually (coached) a game one time (at which) it was so cold, we had heaters going in the tent, and you could see the kids didn’t want to play.”

Soccer scheduling varies from state to state, with geography obviously playing a big role. Florida’s neighbor to the north, Georgia, plays its high school soccer in the spring, while Louisiana also plays its soccer in the winter.

California plays its soccer in the winter, with the season ending in March, but states such as New York and Michigan play the game in the fall.

Soccer is essentially a year-round game in Florida, and Moore — who also coaches for the Florida Rush — said having the high-school season in the winter is, in general, advantageous to club teams and prep programs.

Many high-level tournaments and the like take place in the fall, meaning players still have time to join their varsity programs and build familiarity in time for district tournaments in FHSAA competition that begin in January.

Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].


Latest News